Hello family and friends!!!
I hope you are all doing well and enjoying the hot sun in warm Canada - can you believe I'm wearing a sweater and scarf here...HA! Definitely looking forward to warmer weather in September.
Things here are going quite well. The flights were good - one was delayed and I missed a connection but for that KLM upgraded me for free to first class! It was amazing, I even had one of those seats that folds down into an entire bed...talk about luxury. The first few days were really busy as I got settled in, met everyone at the office and then attended the World Vision Somalia annual meeting. It was actually perfect timing because all the staff from Somalia came down so I was able to meet everyone face-to-face and get a really comprehensive overview of the program. It's going to be seriously challenging work but the stories that I heard in the past few days about the impact the programs are having will make it all worth it. Little factoid: last month alone World Vision delivered more than 12 metric tonnes of food in south/central Somalia...wow!
I have to say that it will take some time to get used to all the bars and fencing and locked doors. You all know how fiercely independent I can be and this is definitely testing my safety compliance tolerance...HA! The place Paul and I have been put in is quite nice (http://www.ramtech.biz/the-gables/about.htm) with its own kitchen, living room, bathroom and bedroom. The guards are really nice and have a lot of patience for the crazy foreign lady who keeps calling every time the power goes out at night to make sure she's not the only one clutching a flashlight nervously - I seriously need to relax:)
And you'll all be happy to know that I'm driving on my own now. The first question after "how was your flight?" was "how quickly can you drive?"! I was a bit stunned since the driving here is on the left but I thought hey, what better time to try! My driving test went fine although I went to the left side of the car and proceeded to get in until I noticed my colleague's face and the lack of a steering wheel...oops. That and there may have been a few times that I ended up on the wrong side of the road...it will be fine, I'm sure...! One of the trickiest things is getting used to the gear shift being on the left - I'm still banging my right hand into the window once in a while as I look for the gear shift - that and the traffic here is nutty. By the time you get up the courage to enter the "highway" with people travelling at 100km an hour in no particular lane and no merging lane (p.s. you're stopped like at a stop sign trying to inch in), you have like 80 people behind you honking on their horn and tapping your back bumper - I'm not even joking!
Anyways, I miss you all and am thinking about you all the time. I have a cell phone now so give me a shout whenever you'd like. The number is 011.254.710.27.1256.